^^TotS^^

EPOV

I step outside into the bitter cold, the wind whipping through the jacket of my Alpha uniform. My eyes are pinched while I swallow down the bile that's risen in my throat, yet again. Old habits die hard. I fucking hate days like today. I take a deep breath, my lungs burning with the frigid air powering through them.

I blink and I'm suddenly standing outside a familiar red door I recognize from decades ago. On the front porch under my mom's rocking chair, I see my old beat-up skateboard, covered in REM, Green Day and Nirvana stickers. I couldn't possibly be making a CACO call to a family living in my childhood home, could I? And when did I PCS back to Virginia?

I ring the bell and hear the joyful noise of young children scampering beyond the door. I recognize a soothing female voice calming them, and I grow more concerned. I shouldn't know these people. I conclude this can't be right and look around for a better explanation.

The chaplain puts his hand on my shoulder and whispers, "I'm so sorry." Before I have a chance to question that, the door swings open and I'm staring at my mother, who looks nowhere near her sixty years but rather the same age she was when my father was killed.

A cacophony of sweet voices calls out in unison."Mom-Mom, who is it?" and "Uncle Emmett! I missed you!"

My brain's trying to catch up to my eyes. I'm no longer standing directly in front of the door. Emmett, wearing his Alphas, with tears in his eyes, is the one standing at the open door with the chaplain next to him. What the hell? Em's not a CACO. Apparently, this isn't my house call; I'm merely a deeply confused spectator off to the side.

"Emmett? What are y—?" My mother's quaking voice trails off.

"Momma Liz," Emmett replies, softly. "Hey, babies." He tries to put on a brave smile for the kids at her feet, now wrapping their arms around his legs. They look familiar. Coppery hair on the skinny, little boy and long, brown hair, sort of disheveled and hanging in the face of a sweet, young girl. She's got stunning green eyes— eyes I've seen before— on my mother's face and...in the mirror?

"Mom? You okay over there? Kids, come away from the door. It's too cold!"

I'm surprised to hear another voice— Bella's voice— in the distance, but what would she be doing here? And calling out to her mother? Where's her mother? I only see mine.

"Emmett?" My mom barely vocalizes, tears running down her face. I want to wrap my arms around her in comfort, but I'm slowly realizing that nobody knows I'm standing here and absolutely nothing is making sense.

I look to Emmett and he's nodding his head. My mom collapses into his arms and the kids retreat, calling out for their mother.

The next thing I know, Emmett is carrying her into the house and the chaplain is following behind him, shutting the door in my face. Before the scene inside disappears from my view, I peer in to see a very-pregnant Bella push herself up from a recliner, clutching her throat and screaming—

"NOOOO!" My body bolts upright, my eyes frantically trying to focus in the dark. The moonlight shines into the room and as my heart continues to race, I realize I'm in the cabin. It was just a fucked up nightmare. Bella stirs next to me and sits up, tugging on my upper arm. The kiss of her lips is a warm comfort on my shoulder.

"Hey," she whispers, "you okay?"

I'm soaked in sweat. I can't speak; I can only nod trying to catch my breath, completely rattled by what I was just forced to witness in my restless sleep.

"Bad dream?"

"The worst," I barely rasp.

"Wanna talk about it?" she questions, still ghosting wet kisses across my shoulder blade and over to my arm.

I shake my head and dig my fingers into my eyes, trying to scrub away the awful image of my mother crying and Bella screaming, and familiar-looking children, and ugh.

"C'mere," she urges, turning my face with her warm touch. Our kiss meets in the darkness and I moan, needful, into her mouth. My hands frame her cheeks as our lips and tongues come together until we're both gasping for breath. "Let me make it go away, Edward."

I nod, still unable to speak, my throat thick with the fear that's swirling in my head after such a terrible scene.

She pulls me down on top of her and I grind my hips into her thigh while sucking, licking and nipping at her, from her sweet lips down to her chest.

"Mmmm, yessss," she hisses as I pull a puckered nipple into my mouth. Her skin is so soft, while my face must feel like sandpaper across her smooth body. She doesn't seem to be complaining though, and neither am I, as she scratches her fingernails down my back and digs them into my ass, causing me to grunt in desire.

She starts squirming under me and pushes my shoulders. Growing concerned thinking she wants me to back off, I lean over on my elbow and allow her some air. Instead, she simply shoves me once more, and then buries her face in my neck and starts sucking on my pulse point. I fall back allowing her to roll on top of me, her full body weight, slight as it is, pressing into me in all the right places.

"You're safe with me, Edward," she promises, straddling my hips.

My cock is swollen and stiff in her hand as she strokes me up and down, running her thumb over its head. I reach up to cup her tits. I'm teasing her nipples with gentle tugs and full palm massages, spurring her on to cry out and raise her hips.

Slowly, she sinks down and hums, pausing when her ass makes full contact with my pelvis. My eyes roll back in my head; the slick, tightness of her pussy is already starting to pulse around me.

I remove my hands from her breasts, and she threads her fingers through mine. We hold hands in mid-air as Bella starts to rise and fall, rolling her hips and whimpering every few seconds. I help by digging my feet into the mattress and pushing my hips up to meet her downward motion.

I can make out her facial features in the moonlight and she's the picture of perfection. She starts with a coy smile, then bites her lip. Next, her eyes flutter closed when I thrust particularly deep. Her mouth falls open in silence, but she's audibly sighing and moaning in no time, fully engulfed in the passion of our moment.

"You're too far away." I pull her forward so that she collapses onto my chest. "I need you closer," I whisper before plunging my tongue back into her mouth. My arms wrap tightly around her back and she starts riding me faster, harder. Our kisses don't cease; Bella's lips are my addiction and I can't get enough.

Our mutual grunting is only drowned out by the sound of Bella's ass slapping against my hips. After coming up for air from our unending lip-lock, she pushes up from my embrace and runs her fingers through her wild mane of hair. My hands fly to her hips and I assist in lifting her up and down on my throbbing cock. She's so wet, so hot, I have to clamp my lips shut so as to not scream out and blow my load before she has a chance to come.

"Arch back a little, baby," I request while my fingers run from her waist down to her clit. There's plenty of moisture gathered down there, so I tease her where we're joined and then begin to flick and play with her small bundle of nerves.

"Faster Edward, rub me faster," she cries out. Oh yes, ma'am, faster it is! I love it when she barks orders at me. I do my best to fulfill my duties and seconds later, I feel her inner walls clenching, tugging and pulsing around me and I lose it.

"FUCK!" My eyes are sealed shut, I feel her bouncing harder, drawing every ounce of delicious pleasure from me. I gasp out a "goddamn," raising my head up off the pillow to watch as Bella slows her movements.

She looks like a fucking goddess. Still panting from her orgasm, her hands run from her hair, down her body, grasping roughly at her tits, over her stomach until she finds my abs and begins a trail in the opposite direction up my body. Leaning over me, once her hands reach my shoulders she gives me a tug, asking me without words to sit up with her.

Skin to skin, there's nowhere we aren't joined. Silently, we sit in the middle of the bed, exchanging breaths and sensual kisses while her delicate fingers just graze my face. Her thumb rubs over my lips and she dips down to kiss me once more.

"Is it gone?" she whispers as her eyelashes flutter against my skin. "Whatever it was that freaked you out— is it gone now?"

I swallow thickly. I can't be honest with her about what I saw…especially when I haven't made heads or tails of it myself. So instead I just nod, not ready to tackle this new set of demons.

We fall back onto our pillows and I reach for the sheet to cover us. My thoughts are still running a mile a minute in my head and all I can do is hope that it's gone. Just hope that whatever mash-up of people and scenarios I was dreaming about was only that— a dream… that unfortunately turned into the inevitable nightmare I've always feared.

^^TotS^^

I wake with the sweet smell of Bella invading my senses. Her body is tucked into mine, soft puffs of breath coming across my chest every few seconds like clockwork. The sheet has remained draped across our legs and pulled up to our waists. Unlike yesterday, the cabin is humid this morning. I look up toward the top bunk and see that we only have one window open, instead of the three we had last night. Between the heat outside and the combined warmth of our naked bodies, this place is going to feel like a pressure cooker as the morning progresses.

Attempting to uncurl my body from Bella's, I feel around on the floor for my cell to check the time: 6:32. It's damn early, but I'm not at all surprised that my eyes popped open by now. I think we were fast asleep by ten last night and our second round of sex was at some point when it was still pitch black outside. We definitely needed the rest after that hike yesterday. I can't believe how much traveling and exploring we've done in the last forty-eight hours; this has to be some kind of record.

Bella starts to stir at my side so I give her a squeeze with the arm that's still wrapped around her petite frame.

"Good morning, sunshine," I whisper, my voice thick with sleep. I put my lips to her forehead for a soft kiss, eliciting a hum from her.

She tilts her head up, showing off a drowsy but beautiful smile. "Morning, sir."

"Yeah, you're going to have to stop calling me 'sir'. It was fun to play Peppermint Patty and Marcie for the last few weeks, but now that we're—" I wave my hand over our naked, entwined bodies, "I don't feel right about it... makes me sound like a kinky slave master or something."

Her body starts shaking with laughter. "Kinky, huh?"

"Yes," I chuckle. "And I just don't look good in ass-less, black leather chaps."

Now we're both practically hyperventilating from the image of me wearing such a get-up while wielding some weird Pulp Fiction props.

"Okay, okay," she heaves, "no black leather, no whips and chains…I can handle that." She rolls onto my chest, resting her chin on her hands. "Well, at least I can still call you 'Cap'n'. You'll always be my Cap'n Crunch," she says with a wink.

"Is now the right time to tell you I'm getting promoted to major, once we get back to Oahu?"

Bella immediately pops up in the bed, her succulent breasts on full display in the bright morning sunlight, and not a modicum of shyness to be found. I have to suppress a groan and calm my morning wood, which really needed no additional ammo.

"Are you kidding me? That's fantastic, Edward! Congratulations," she shouts happily, her eyes wide as saucers. "How long have you known this and didn't tell me?" she adds, smacking my chest.

"Oh, I found out when I was still in theater last month. My CO told me I was selected the day before the message came out," I say, pulling her back down to lie with me.

"I have to call you Major Crunch, now? Well, that's no good," she says, her nose crinkling. "You'll just have to keep your current rank of endearment until I come up with something better."

I huff, smiling at her. "I can live with that," I say, rubbing my hand down her back to the curve of her luscious hips. "The ceremony is planned for that first week in July, plus I'll have my wet down then, too."

She quirks her brow. "Wet down?"

"Yeah," I reply, surprised she doesn't know the term, but then I remember that Mike was only a sergeant when he died. "Any staff NCOs or officers who get promoted are expected to throw a party of sorts and basically cover the tab of anyone who joins them to celebrate."

Her eyes widen again. "Umm, I've witnessed how some Marines can drink. How much are you expected to shell out?"

"It's usually just the increase in pay grade, but if you're not on top of things, you can get really stuck. Riley got so shit-faced the night of his wet down that he forgot to tell the bartender when to cut the tab. He ended up paying damn near nine hundred dollars because so many people came out to honor him."

Bella and I cackle at Riley's unfortunate mistake. A thought that's crossed my mind more than a few times in the last couple of weeks pops up again, and I decide to go for it.

"So, I don't know if you've ever done this before. I mean," I pause and swallow my nerves, "I don't know if Mike ever got promoted while you were together."

She shakes her head, her smile dulling a bit. "He had just been promoted before he asked me to marry him, and he was in zone just before he was killed."

"Did you ever go to any of the promotion ceremonies?"

"Yes, one was very early in our relationship. The one right before we got engaged landed on the same day my grandfather was being buried up in New York, so I couldn't be there for that one."

"Hmm. So in that first ceremony, did he ask you to participate and pin on his new rank?"

"No, we had only just started dating and his parents pinned one side of his collar while his favorite uncle, a retired Marine police officer, pinned the other."

Makes sense. "Well, then I'd like to ask if you'd stand with me and pin on one of my new gold oak leaves."

Her gorgeous smile makes my heart stutter. "I'd be honored," she whispers and kisses my chest. "Will Riley pin on your other side?"

"Yeah, definitely. If Emmett were available, I'd ask him, but we haven't been stationed together since we first got commissioned."

She pulls herself up and reaches my lips for a chaste kiss. "Well, I'd love to. And I'd love to kiss the hell out of you right now, but I'm worried my breath is atrocious. Hold that thought," she says, holding up a finger, and hops out of the bed. Her gloriously naked body is on full display for me. It's the first time I can appreciate it in the daylight, but she's buzzing around so quickly that before I know it, she throws my t-shirt on and darts out the front door to brush her teeth. I may as well do the same thing, so I roll out of bed, yanking my jeans up sans boxers; I need a shower anyway, no sense in dirtying a new pair just yet.

Toothbrush in mouth, I grab the cooler and carry it outside to get started on breakfast for us. Minutes later, my breath is minty fresh and I'm ready to give Bella a proper kiss.

"Whatcha got there?" she asks, walking over and sitting next to the cooler on the picnic bench.

"I figured we needed to eat to replace all of that expended energy between yesterday's hike and last night." I snicker. "Thought I'd peel a couple of potatoes, scramble the eggs and throw on a few sausage links. Sound good?" I ask, pulling the skillet out of my duffel.

"Dee-lish," she sings, standing up so that we're chest to chest.

I can't help but grin and dip down. "Kiss me, Clementine."

She slides her hands behind my neck and pulls my mouth to hers. "Hmm, don't mind if I do," she smirks, and we meet for a scorching kiss.

I've since dropped the skillet on the table behind her and have moved my hands from the small of her back down beneath her ass. Then I remember that she's not wearing anything under my shirt.

Regrettably, I pull back giving her a pointed look. "You trying to give the other campers a show?"

She snickers, the devil. "No, just wondering if I could get you all flustered out here. It's only fair since you're standing here in just jeans, dog tags and the Good Lord's blessings. You look like a freaking pin-up model, Edward."

"Only for you," I huff, smiling. "Now, I can guarantee you'll never hear me say this when we're alone, because you look sexy as fuck in nothing but my shirt from last night, but this," I give her ass a squeeze, "better be only for me to check out, got it?"

"Oorah, sir," she says again, laughing through our kisses. I give her naked rump a light smack and she squeals. "Okay, I'm goin', I'm goin'!"

^^TotS^^

After breakfast and quick showers, we pack up the car and say goodbye to cabin number seven. We agree that we hiked enough yesterday, so there's no need to wander around the park anymore. As we're driving out, we stop for a few pictures along the way at some dormant craters, and others that are steaming but don't show any visible magma or lava.

Bella conks out almost immediately as we start our journey back toward Kona, but I don't mind at all. I enjoy watching her sleep. She seems undisturbed, peaceful and adorably rumpled when she wakes.

"Where are we?" she yawns and then takes a drink of water.

"As a matter of fact, we're making one more stop before heading back to the condo…any guesses?"

She twists her lips to the side, narrowing her eyes. "Umm, my brain's not firing on all cylinders right now…wanna give me a clue?"

I press my head back into the seat and think for a second. "Well, we're going somewhere that's found only in a few places in the world, but this particular area is the number one place to see this spectacle…and there's a reptilian wildlife bonus."

She clicks her tongue, and her mouth falls open. "Are you taking us to a black sand beach?" she screeches, clapping.

"Wonder if we'll get lucky enough to be alone," I say, waggling my eyebrows. "Ever had sex on jet black sand?"

Still smiling, she shakes her head. "I think you know the answer to that one, Cap'n, but there's a first time for everything, right?"

I reach for her hand and she grips her fingers in mine, resting them on her thigh.

With the top down on the car, the sun blazing around us, and the wind whipping through Bella's hair, she looks like a cover girl. I don't know what I did or what I said to have the planets align and send her into my life again, but I'm so thankful and excited and terrified all at the same time. I've just got to fight through the lingering fear and bad emotions and just trust the good ones. There are still so many variables, but I wasn't lying when I told Bella I've never felt this way before. Whatever this is, I swear I'm going to do my best to hold onto it with both hands.

^^TotS^^

"So much for being alone," Bella snorts as I tuck her into my side. We walk toward Punalu`u Beach where at least three dozen people are meandering and soaking up the sun.

I kiss her temple and chuckle along. "S'okay. I'm sure the act sounds a lot nicer than it actually feels." We both laugh harder. "Sand in certain places is never as sexy as the movies make it seem."

Once we get to the sand, we kick off our shoes and dig our toes in. It's early enough in the day that it still feels cool and comfortable from last night's lower temperatures. Standing in this same spot at three in the afternoon in the middle of July would probably feel very different.

We snap a few pictures of the endangered green turtles resting in the middle of the beach. There's an enormous circle drawn in the sand surrounding them. I assume park rangers monitor their whereabouts and attempt to keep crowds away so that they're left undisturbed. When I did my research for our trip, I read that the touch of human skin can kill them because they have no immune system to protect them from the transfer of bacteria.

Eventually, we find a piece of beach all to ourselves and get comfortable.

"Such an amazing sight, you know?" Bella runs her fingers through the sand and looks down the beach. "It's so cool that this is all from the volcanoes. I read that it's illegal to remove the black sand. I also read that it's bad luck and people who've taken it in the past often mail it back!" We both laugh at that thought.

"I can certainly see the attraction in wanting to bring a bit of it back with you. But yeah, no need to invite bad luck."

"I agree. It's unique and definitely makes the beaches in North Carolina look plain as hell."

"Makes the beaches anywhere else look plain as hell…except maybe Bermuda," I add. "Ever been?"

"No, never, but I've heard it's lovely," she sighs, readjusting her body so that she's sitting between my legs and resting her back against my chest. "What's so special about Bermuda's beaches?"

"They have pink sand; it's beautiful…very soft and fine, from what I remember."

"When were you there?" she asks, trailing her hands up and down the backs of my bent legs.

"The summer after my dad was killed. I had just turned ten and the school year was ending. Lauren was about six months old and my mom agreed to let my grandparents treat us all to a vacation together."

"That's very sweet," she whispers, her head resting back on my shoulder.

"Yeah, I'm very close to my grandfather. His son's death just devastated him. I am thankful we've always remained close. I know that's not always the case when one parent is left to raise the children. If there's not a solid foundation with the in-laws, those relationships can suffer."

I sigh and look out at the waves crashing on the craggy rock formations off the shore. "I remember using some of my spending money to buy a message-in-a-bottle that week in Bermuda." I smile, the images of that day suddenly rushing back to my mind.

"That's so cool that they sold those! I've never seen them in stores before," she muses.

"Yeah, my grandpa went back with me to the store where I'd seen them in a few days earlier. I whispered to him that I needed one to send a message to Dad." I swallow my emotions, remembering my grandfather's eyes getting glassy in response. "We didn't tell my mom or grandma where we were going; we just left early that morning before we all headed to the beach for the day. He bought one to send, too."

Bella shifts her body so that we're face-to-face and I get lost in her thoughtful gaze.

"We went out to the beach and sat down to write our messages. I remember I told Dad that I missed him terribly. I told him Mom cried for him when she closed her bedroom door at night."

Bella, teary-eyed, pulls me into a hug and I hear her sniffling.

"It was so difficult for her, you know? She tried to be this incredible pillar of strength for Lauren and me, her world couldn't stop turning just because she lost her husband; she still had to take care of her kids." I feel my vision blurring with unshed tears and I force myself to clear my throat.

"Anyway, I just told him I'd make him proud and take care of Mom and Lauren as best I could. Then Grandpa and I went up onto a boulder that sat at the ocean's edge and pitched our bottles as far as we could." I recall. "The tide took them right out…it was fascinating to watch. We stood there together, unmoving, until we couldn't see them bobbing on the horizon anymore."

I'm quiet for a few minutes and realize Bella's been silent for even longer. I rub her back, and she lifts her tear-stained face up. I wipe away the streaks and kiss her gently.

"I'm sorry you dealt with such a tragedy when you were so young, Edward. I can't imagine."

I cock my head to the side and study her face. "No different than what you faced a few years ago." I shrug. "It is what it is. Life really fucking sucks sometimes."

"Yeah, it does," she sighs. "Your mother sounds like a pretty amazing lady."

"She is," I say with a proud grin. "Life dealt her a really shitty hand, but she did the best she could." I swallow and continue, "Reminds me very much of another incredibly strong woman I know." I push the wisps of hair blowing around her face back behind her shoulders.

Bella shrugs. "It was a choice of living the life I was blessed with or cowering in the shadow of death for the rest of my days. I chose living. I guess your Mom did, too."

I pull her back into my chest, and we hug tightly. I hug her for her loss. I hug her for crying for mine. I hug her for her bravery. I hug her for being here with me. And I hug her because if my heart and mind could ever conquer the overwhelming fear that courses through my body regarding relationships and their inevitable tragic end, I'm pretty sure I would do just about anything to make her mine forever.

^^TotS^^

By one o'clock, we're pulling back into the resort, and I'm pretty confident that the bottom has officially fallen out for both of us.

Like a well-oiled machine, running on fumes though it may be, Bella hops out to get a luggage cart while I unload. Twenty minutes later, after unpacking the cooler and dropping our personal bags in our rooms, we're collapsing on the couch together.

I'm resting with my eyes closed, my legs kicked up on the coffee table, and Bella's stretched out with her head in my lap. The sounds of nature we've been surrounded by for the last couple of days have been replaced by the second hand ticking of the large wall clock in the dining room and, from time to time, by the whirring of the refrigerator.

"Hey you," Bella speaks softly, tugging on my shirt. "Wanna head into bed?"

My eyes still shut, I respond coyly. "Are you trying to seduce me, Ms. Newton? 'Cause it's workin'!"

Her giggles, combined with her face firmly planted in my crotch, immediately start to wake my sleeping giant.

"Well, I was thinking of the actual act of sleeping, but perhaps later, after we're well-rested, you might get lucky."

My eyes pop open. "Well, then, hell yeah, woman! Lead the way!" I thrust my lap, causing her to laugh even more and roll off my legs.

We stand in the living room exchanging glances for a few seconds, silently figuring out which bedroom we should use and inadvertently tackling the elephant in the room of 'where do we go from here?'.

I decide to just go for broke. "Will you stay with me?"

Her eyebrows rise in question to clarify. "Take a nap with you in your bed? Of course!" She walks up to me, offers a quick peck on the lips and starts to move around me to head toward my room, but I wrap my arm around her waist before she gets away.

I take a deep breath and jump in feet first since she didn't quite get it. "Not just that. I mean…stay with me, in that bedroom, yes, but for the rest of the vacation, too. Like, only get us one-bedroom condos and then," gulp, "come home with me to my house at Kaneohe. Stay with me…until you," I stop to clear my throat of the unexpected lump that's formed, "until we have to say goodbye." Perhaps I'm a chicken shit, but I don't know if I'm ready to address what happens after the goodbye.

She steps forward, bottom lip firmly entrenched between her teeth, and hooks her fingers in the belt loops of my jeans.

"I'd like that very much," she whispers, her eyes trained on mine. "But listen, I don't want you to feel pressured, okay?" She sighs. "It's just…you've made it pretty clear that relationships scare the crap out of you."

I allow a half-smile to creep onto my face and nod for her to continue.

"So whatever's happening here…just," she shakes her head, looking down. "I just don't want you to feel forced into doing something you wouldn't normally do."

It's my turn to grab onto her waist with both hands. "I'm not gonna lie and say that this is something I'd normally do. We both know that isn't the case. But you're different, Bella…and I'm feeling differently about," I shake my head, thinking, "…all of it. Everything's changed since you came back into my world and I really, really like having you here."

"Well, I really, really like being here…I love being here, as a matter of fact. So yes, I'll stay with you and be with you, for as long as you let me."

I smile and follow her as she leads me into the master suite, my designated bedroom, and we get undressed. Bella ends up in just panties and her t-shirt, while I take everything off and crawl into bed wearing only boxers.

I pull her close to me so that our bodies are spooned together. Her breathing evens out a few minutes later and I realize she's well on her way to dreamland. I, on the other hand, am feeling the lingering sting of her final words during our talk.

For as long as you let me.

I can't help but wonder if she's saying that for my benefit or for hers. I want to believe that I've turned a corner in my way of thinking about casual dating versus serious relationships. But then my nightmare from last night crosses my mind again and I wonder if I've spoken too soon.

^^TotS^^

Hours later we wake. We never closed the drapes on the sliding glass doors of my room, so we're greeted with what must be early evening darkness. I've lost all track of time, but I couldn't care in the least. I've been wrapped around the sweetest, warmest body I've ever known all afternoon.

I feel Bella pulling away from my embrace, and I crack my eyes open again.

"Gotta pee," she mumbles and rolls out of bed. I twist my head around to find the clock on the nightstand. It's quarter after seven. My stomach rumbles, but I'm too damn comfortable to do anything about it. Maybe if Bella's hungry we'll grab something quick and easy in the kitchen.

The bathroom door swings open and she stumbles back over to the bed. With a sleepy smile still on her face, she climbs on top of me and lies down, covering my body with hers. I envelop her while she hums contentedly.

"I like this," she whispers, causing a rush of comfort to run through me.

"I'm glad. I like it, too." My stomach rumbles again, managing to break the silence between us. She giggles.

"Hungry, hungry hippo, are ya?"

I chuckle, loving her kindergarten teacher-sayings. "Very much so. It's late…want to just make sandwiches?"

She picks herself up and grins. "Sounds good to me!"

In the kitchen, she takes out the loaf of bread, peanut butter and fluff. She looks at me slyly, waiting for me to challenge her, but I'm not going to do it.

"You on board with this, Cap'n?"

I open the fridge and grab the milk. "I most certainly am. Extra fluff on mine, if you please."

Her head falls back in laughter and she starts shaking her ass, happy as a clam. I stand behind her, wrap my arms around her waist, and we laugh and sway back and forth together in just our underwear, well, her still in her t-shirt, too. I can't keep myself from kissing her under her ear, down to her collarbone and back up again as she spreads the creamy peanut butter on the bread followed by the sticky blobs of fluff.

Once she's finished, I catch her licking her fingers of the wayward remnants and have to intervene.

"May I?" I ask, lifting her hands and seeing a sweet blush come across her cheeks.

I inspect her fingers and find the two that still have some splotches of fluff and peanut butter on them. Slowly I bring them to my mouth, wrapping my lips around them and close my eyes with a moan. I proceed to slide, drag and roll my tongue on and around them, savoring her delicious flavor along with the sweet and salty combination of the fluffernutter.

When I force my eyes open, I see that hers are practically rolling back in her head, her body visibly shuddering and her chest rising and falling as her breathing picks up speed.

"Mmmm," I pop them out of my mouth and rub my lips together. "Scrumptious," I add with a wink and proceed to pour two tall glasses of milk while she grabs some paper towels and brings our sandwiches over to the coffee table.

I turn on the television and flip through the channels until we find old reruns of Saturday Night Live on VH-1. Will Ferrell as George Bush in one sketch and Alex Trebek in the next is hilarity at its finest.

I take a deep breath and a big bite out of my sandwich. Hmmm, not bad. In fact, it's pretty fucking fantastic, and I have to question my worldly knowledge since I didn't know these ever existed before that day in the grocery store.

I glance over at Bella, who's paused, mid-chew, waiting for my verdict. "Well?"

I decide to mess with her a bit. "Meh…it's edible, but barely. I don't like to waste food, so I'll choke it down."

The look of utter defeat and sadness that crosses this girl's face is tragic. I feel kind of bad for joking around, but I have to keep up the ruse. I take another bite, chew, chew, chew and exhale exaggeratedly, reaching for my glass of milk. I take several huge gulps, acting as if I'm trying to mask the taste, when in fact, I'm just craving the milk because you simply can't eat peanut butter without a glass of it…it's a rule.

Bella's completely silent and I'm starting to cave. I check to see if she's still staring at me, but she's just picking at her bread and staring absent-mindedly at the television.

I take another bite and moan aloud; this sandwich is so off-the-charts. Bella's head snaps immediately in my direction, and she cocks her eyebrow. I can't contain my smirk, but I try to remain focused on Will Ferrell's hysterical impression of Robert Goulet.

In my periphery, I watch Bella get up from her side of the couch, place her glass and half-eaten sandwich on the table and sidle up next to me.

"What's up?" I ask, shoving my final bite in my mouth. I have to swallow several times because I've run out of milk and there's peanut butter coating the roof of my mouth.

Bella lowers herself onto my lap, planting both knees on either side of my legs. She's chewing on the inside of her cheek, just staring at me. I guess we're waiting to see who's going to break first.

Once my mouth is free and clear of all traces of peanut butter, I attempt to dazzle her with a bright smile.

Quirked brow firmly in place, she questions me again. "Did you really not like the sandwich or are you just yanking my chain, Cap'n?"

I can't take the adorable pouting any more and I burst out laughing. "I have to admit, I like it a lot better when you yank MY chain!" She narrows her eyes at me and joins in with her giggles.

"GAH! You were joking!" she says, smacking my shoulder. "I knew you couldn't resist the lure of the fluffernutter. See? Wasn't it awesome?"

I run my hands up and down her back. "Yes, you win, Clementine. It was phenomenal. I can't believe it's taken me almost thirty-four years to discover just how good it could be. Without you introducing them to me, I'd just continue to exist on this planet, a shell of a person, without knowing the true meaning of its deliciousness. They're going to have to become a staple in my world. There's no going back now; I'm a changed man."

As my speech comes to a screeching halt, the look she's giving me tells me she heard exactly what I said…and everything I didn't say. It wasn't until the end of my stream of consciousness that I realized it could've been her I was talking about, and not just the sandwich.

I swallow hard, realizing my Freudian slip. It scares me and it doesn't, all at once.

She leans in and whispers, "I'm happy you've discovered just how awesome life is with a fluffernutter. It was my pleasure to awaken your senses."

I sit up, needing to feel her lips on mine. Hot breaths, rolling tongues, playful nips…she's performing an enticing lap dance as we make out like horny teenagers for a few minutes, finally coming up for air.

"So, speaking of fluffernutters," she starts to scoot back off my lap and falls to her knees. "What was it you told me in the store that day about a fluffer?" She rubs her hand over my straining cock and runs her fingers along the waistband of my boxers. "Their job is to keep the actor aroused, you said?"

Oh, holy hell.

She tugs until my erection springs free and slaps against my stomach. "Hmm, I'd say a fluffer isn't needed in this case." Our eyes are locked on each other as she grips my cock and strokes it several times. "But just to be on the safe side…"

She hoists herself up on her knees and gives the head a lick. I have to hold my breath at the first contact her tongue makes with my dick. She looks up, smiling, and then wraps her mouth around me, hollowing out her cheeks creating the most amazing suction. What she can't fit in her mouth she makes up for by pumping with her saliva-moistened hand and works me up and down until I'm panting like I just ran the Marine Corps Marathon.

Christ in heaven. Even my wildest fantasies of her can't compare to the real thing.

Her mouth is so hot; I'm grunting with every tug of her lips. She reaches up and tucks her hair behind her ear because it's falling all over the place. I gather my wits about me enough to scoop it up and hold it back for her; it's the least I can do.

"Fuck Bella, so wet…so good," I moan, my breathing becoming more and more labored as my balls start to tingle and my thighs tense. "Ugh, I'm cuh-coming," I gasp out, wanting her to have fair warning, but she doubles her efforts and tugs on my balls enough that I see instant fireworks and release into her mouth in multiple spurts. Her movement doesn't slow until I'm completely devoid of all energy and barely able to hold her hair up any longer.

She sits back on her knees, reaches for her milk and takes a few gulps, winking at me in the process. Then, she daintily dabs her paper towel over her lips and chin and stands up in one fluid motion.

Without reservation or shyness, she peels off her t-shirt and stands before me in only skimpy, pale pink panties that have a discernible wet spot at the apex of her legs. A sly grin appears on her face as she looks down at me from between my legs.

"I seem to remember you were hoping we could have an intimate gathering in that luxurious shower of yours," she flirts, taking a step back toward my room. "Coming, Cap'n?"


Military Terms (some repeats from previous chapters to refresh your memory):

Alphas- The service uniform consisting of olive green and khaki colors. It's roughly equivalent in function and composition to a business suit.

CACO- Casualty Assistance Calls Officer; the military member charged with delivering the news to the family of a service member that he or she is missing in action or killed in action.

PCS- Permanent Change of Station; where a military member is assigned to live and work for their tour of duty, usually three years at a time.

ammo- ammunition

"in theater"- area of combat operations. - Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.

CO- commanding officer

"wet down"- a party to celebrate the promotion of any staff NCOs or officers. The Marine getting promoted is supposed to cover the tab for anyone who comes out to honor them.

Marine Staff NCOs (in rank order)- Staff Sergeant, Gunnery Sergeant, Master Sergeant, First Sergeant, Master Gunnery Sergeant, Sergeant Major, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps

Marine Officers (in rank order)- 2nd Lt, 1st Lt, Captain, Major, Lt. Colonel, Colonel, Brigadier General, Major General, Lt. General, General

"in zone"- having enough time in grade and rank to be eligible for promotion.


A/N: Big thanks, as always, to Team Cabana. Born, Cejsmom, Jules & Momo. Their help is the best a girl could get.

To my Major Hubby, my military advisor, who patiently listens to me read sentences and phrases over and over and corrects me so I say it EXACTLY like a Marine would (jeez, they're strict!)

To all my readers, reviewers, alerters, favoriters, lurkers, rec'ers & tweeters...thank you so much for all of your support. I'm so excited that you're loving the TotS ride, learning all your military terms and enjoying a thorough tour of the Hawaiian Islands, to boot!

Last Call has been getting tons of love. So excited about that. Come join us on Facebook at The Cabanaboy's Playground! Another list has formed for Last Call Girl T-shirts if you're interested! It's a v-neck tshirt this time around! Who knew Callward would spark his own clothing line? LOL.

xo, Jen